This probably comes as a surprise to no one, but it's worth noting just the same: people who own e-readers are much more likely to participate in social networks, according to the latest Survey of the American consumer from GfK MRI. While the data don't cover social media usage via e-readers, they provide more evidence of the continuing convergence of mobile and social media -- which has already been suggested by a number of previous studies.
Overall GfK MRI found that 2.8 million Americans now own e-reader devices -- up 34% from just six months ago, doubtless reflecting intense interest in Apple's new iPad tablet-style computer, which sold over two million units in the first two months of sales following its April 3 debut.
The survey also found that e-reader owners are 64% more likely than the average U.S. adult to have visited Facebook in the last 30 days, 269% more likely to have used Twitter in the same timeframe, and 375% more likely to have visited LinkedIn. And as one might expect, they are a well-heeled group -- 111% more likely than the average U.S. adult to have a household income of $100,000 or more and 159% more likely to have a post-graduate degree.
And it gets better: preliminary data suggests iPad users in particular are more receptive to advertising delivered on the device... at least for now. According to AdAge, executives from Pointroll (which executes mobile ad campaigns) said four ad campaigns on USA Today's digital edition for the iPad -- for Ford, Unilever, Marriott and Target -- yielded click-through rates ranging from 0.9% to 1.5%, leaving click-through rates for comparable campaigns on the Web in the dust.
Of course, there's always the possibility -- I would even venture probability, in this case -- that the ads are benefiting from a transient halo effect based on the iPad's novelty. In short, the device is so new and nifty that even looking at ads is fun, for the time being. As with the first wave of banner ads on the Internet, the iPad's ad honeymoon will probably end. But who knows? Clever publishers and digital agencies may find a way to maintain premium click-through rates in the long term.